Links 14 January 2020

Global Macro / Markets / Investing:





Leith van Onselen


  1. AMAZON PHARMACY – trademark was filed last week with IP Australia. Australia’s ~6000 protected specie pharmacies business models are about annihilated. Chemist Warehouse should have IPO’d last year. Oops.

    • don’t worry about Chemist Warehouse, they are still going to sell loads of baby formula and Lanolin creams – their core business

    • reusachtigeMEMBER

      Trademark means nothing. They still have to meet the strict requirements to actually operate.

    • “ the proposed law change would deter real estate agents and high-value cash dealers from accepting dirty money for big purchases such as houses”

      Sounds good to me, however once the unintended consequences show up, what will they do.

      • They could easily prevent it now without a cash ban. The cash ban punishes the small guy. The big players have ways around it. As per usual.

      • is that how they came up with $10k limit?

        LOL $10k doesn’t pay stamp duty for the cheapest house in the country

    • reusachtigeMEMBER

      I will always be able to pay cash for my favourite types of purchases! Even a 10k high end bird weekend away will be cash.

      • Locus of ControlMEMBER

        Didn’t realise you were such a keen ornithologist Reusa. $10k’s a fair amount, even for the most fanatical twitchers.

      • Reusa
        Something you are spot on with
        They are all commies on this site

        They believe in “the state”

        That government will save us

        That’s communism

    • Everybody knows it is ALL Morrison’s fault. Read factual comments in MB, The Guardian, and listen to the ABC. Morrison is responsible for all the CO2 in the world. From the same sources, we know ALL climate variation is due to CO2.
      Only stupid people don’t know these things and they must be put into re-education camps as soon as possible. No end is too bad for these scum.

    • Although it should be known loud & clear, those responsible for funding cuts won’t be heard about here unless it goes up in lights Gav. Currently it’s about lack of burning off here (for over 20 years) but you could easily add what you can/can’t do with your farm – run by bureaucrats who’ve never been out of an office & driving people off their farms as they’re steadily made unworkable – where’d they get their creeping policies? It’s always landed on the Greens who have been interfering, costing jobs & SPLITTING towns since the 80’s! While maybe the big 2 have been hiding their own agenda’s behind them?

      Plenty of deaf ego’s shouting & tearing each other down from the Fascist ends of the spectrum & no room allowed in the middle where a workable multifactor answer might emerge…… Once you move into your new abode & survey your reserve you might see all that undergrowth in a new light as the long derided bushies do, & I pray you never find out what it can do under adverse circumstances. This whole area is now on levels of Valium like they’ve Never seen to get over the anxiety – that tidbit is from the front line mental health dispensers!

  2. “The town’s only operating service station closed on Saturday morning after it ran out of fuel, AAP reported.
    Notes plastered to a window read “Sorry, will reopen when highway reopens” and “We have had enough. Beer before fuel,” in reference to the 3000 litres of beer shipped into the town on the navy’s HMAS Choules earlier in the week.“

    This has scomo written all over it. His let them eat cake moment.

  3. Fake High Tensile bolts, just wondering if others are finding fake bolts in the Australian supply chains.
    I recently purchased some high tensile bolts (I wanted Grade 12.9 but I couldn’t find it) so I decided to use more bolts Grade 5 (what I could find plenty of) alas when the bolts arrived I looked at them and thought there’s something wrong, these don’t even look like High Tensile steel. It didn’t take much to snap these bolts, they weren’t even good quality mild steel , absolute Fi’ng rubbish …yet with a Grade 5 stamp on the head.
    Is this common in Australia? If so just how the F is any Engineer suppose to do their job, what’s the point of understanding material properties and buying the right bolt for the job if the grade stamps don’t mean anything?

      • truthisfashionable

        I didn’t think to look up the origins of this saying before…
        I am hearing this phrase reasonably often in I.T. now, especially when dealing with 3rd party suppliers.

      • Indirectly I did verify, first I snapped the top off the bolt, than I cursed like a drunken sailor and extracted the broken bolt. Than I sawed one of the other bolts in two and put it under an inspect microscope. Swiss cheese has less voids than these bolts, after inspection actual tensile testing seems rather unnecessary.

        • This isn’t the Australia of old, where you could reliably assume that people (Australians) weren’t out to screw you in the first place and the government was doing its work to weed out the mongrels that were.

          This is the Australia of modern times (aka Peachystan), where you should assume that anyone you interact with is!out to screw you and the government is not only turning a blind eye to this, but trying as hard as they can to bring in heaps more mongrels each year.

          It ain’t Kansas anymore. Adjust your mindset. Act accordingly.

          • Sad if it’s true, and probably an unrecoverable situation.
            How can any industry exist and grow if every insignificant nut and bolt needs to be pre-inspected and sample tested?
            Surely this is what we pay the extra for when we buy through a large company.
            These weren’t bolts purchased on Fleabay they were bought at what I thought was a reputable company. We’re working through the problem so I’m not interested in naming and shaming…but if they don’t give me some damn good answers than I will name and shame.

    • Arthur Schopenhauer

      One of the unintended consequences of not having a significant heavy manufacturing sector. There’s nobody left to do the verifying part of ‘trust but verify’.

      (Unintended, yet totally predictable.)

      • Yep I agree. In the end it’s the exacting demands of high quality manufactures that keeps the component supply chains honest.
        If you lose these apex manufactures than what follows ain’t pretty.

    • Hang on, aren’t you usually coming down in favour of caveat emptor and the people taking advantage of local loopholes to get away with something ethically questionable, if they can ?

      • I’m glad to see that you have such a high opinion of me.
        I’m not saying that one should do shady things, I’m just saying that it does happen and that I’m not blind to the fact that this does happen.
        I suspect the real problem is that our residual manufacturing industry is not vetting the supply chains and keeping component suppliers honest.
        Some (probably you) would suggest that this is a government function however I believe it’s really a function of the business community to keep fake rubbish out of the supply chain. So when you lose the manufactures who know what they’re doing (and randomly sample / destructively test all components) you lose the supply chain vetting mechanism. With no supply chain vetting mechanism any stamp is as good as any other, so you’ll get Grade 5 or 8.8 or whatever stamped on the bolt….afterall it’s just a marketing thing (a bit like brand name goods) …
        This is all great but where does it leave Australia’s remaining manufactures …lets assume that they really know what they’re doing and build high value products. How long before those high added valued products fail if component specifications are just marketing fluff?

        • It PAYS to cut the spec – just a little bit under your competitor all the time. The when he cuts – just go a little lower again but ALWAYS maintain the original spec numbers.

          • Yep that might be what’s happening, although the bolts weren’t cheap, so if someone is cutting corners to make the sale than someone somewhere in the supply chain is making a huge markup.

    • In my industry that’s common. Outside of telecommunication and electronic devices, it’s the source of most of the low inflation.

    • When I use supply the mines with valves, pipes and fittings, depending on the engineers specifications we had to supply heat numbers and accompanying test certs to ensure the items integrity. If it didn’t have a heat number and test certs, don’t trust it.

      • Good advice based on my recent experience but it still leaves the question
        What does the average Aussie mechanic do if they’re just replacing a few bolts, Do they just have to guess what quality/ strength the product really is? Seems like a disaster waiting to happen.
        What happens if say these bolts were holding on a Towbar and under heavy load the whole thing ripped off the back of the car?
        Safety chains don’t help you if the whole bar comes off.
        I’m certain there are lots of other cases where the bolt specification is not just a nice to have number but rather is critical to the products safety.

        • Don’t worry so much. Relaaaax!

          When the disaster happens we just say “whocouldanode?!” And move on. It’s beautiful, it works every time, too.

          Whoocouldanode thay the cladding was flammable?!
          Whoycouldanode that the foundations could sink?
          Whoucouldanode that the rebar was crap and the cement was porous rubbish?
          Whocouldanode thay the borrower was subprime?
          Whocouldanode that bushfires?
          Whocouldanode thay low rates inflate prices?

          Easy. You try it!

          Just remember the binding thread. Humans are expendable. Capital interests must be preserved.

        • Anecdotal story, was having a couple of tins with the electrician in our unit block and got talking about the quality of electrical products in the market and the quality difference within the same brand. He said that, for example, the manufacturer of Tastics have them mass produced in China for the Bunnings market. Said they’re rubbish and you’re better buying the same brand from an electrical wholesaler, while they’re still made in China, the quality is generally better but you pay a bit more for it. Guess the same goes for bolts. But yes, it is scary to think there’s sh1t out there held together buy a cheap crappy cast iron bolt being passed off as high tensile.

  4. You can’t convince anyone that we are in a bubble. It’s a waste of time, people believe what they want to believe and it tends to be the view of the masses, Now it’s only time that will prove whose prediction is correct
    2020 is the year we start the “Great Australian Property Crash”. Prices will be around 50% lower in 2 or 3 years there about.

    • reusachtigeMEMBER

      LOLOLOL it’s because we are not in a bubble and the sh1t you go on about is old and all been heard before. Everyone knows housing that housing booms.

    • So you think the RBA is going to realise their gross errors over many decades and reverse course?

    • Arthur Schopenhauer

      Bcnich, while people believe it’s the new normal, it’s the new normal.

      If you are in SYD, BNE or MEL, get out from behind the keyboard and go for a drive in suburbs zoned for townhouses. If houses are being demolished and the survey pegs are in the ground, it means that small time developers can get finance. If the little guys, often with little building knowledge, can get finance, then it’s on like donkey kong. 😎😶

      Why are they doing it? Because, in the current political and economic climate it makes sense to them (even if it makes no sense to you 😀).

      And, at all levels of government and business, every effort will be made to sustain the unsustainable.

      • It’s always it is until the day it isn’t
        We aren’t far away
        We are nearing the end of the line
        Get prepared

        Ps who are the “little guys”, are you meaning the shoe shine boys in 1929 giving out stock tips or the Uber drivers that are now property developers?

        • Arthur
          You know what I think about when I listen to every property bubbler
          Have you seen the 1 minute clip of bubble boy on Seinfeld when the bubble pops as George Constanza fights with him
          Check it out

          “And when the little go with no building experience can get finance” now you really have me worried

          All these comments on here, I hope MB keeps a copy, it’d nice to read after the bubble bursts

          You’ll all say to yourself “ how did we not see this coming, when it was staring us right in the face”

      • If something can’t happen, then it won’t happen.

        Example: America cannot possibly pay back it’s foreign debt. Therefore, it won’t pay back it’s debt and something else will happen instead. This is a certainty.

        The question we have to ask in Australia is which of two things can’t possibly happen the most?

        Case 1. We cannot possibly ever pay back our housing debt because it’s too big and we can’t inflate it away as we could in the old days, housing prices cannot keep going up because there is no money left


        Case 2. Housing cannot possibly crash because it will ruin the economy and many people’s lives?
        if (1) then housing must crash and we are faced with a lot of pain in all sectors of the economy

        or if (2) then we are doomed to a future of unaffordable housing and wage serfdom for the masses
        Edit: Case 1 should be re-stated We cannot possibly ever pay back our housing debt because it’s too big and we can’t inflate it away as we could in the old days, housing prices cannot keep going up because people have already spent their future wealth

      • @JohnR.
        Well, not sure about running into ‘roos, I’ve always found that slowing down at dawn and dusk in roo country works a treat for both me and the roos. Zero strikes so far (except for one on a dawn cycle training ride where I came off far worse than the roo).

        Nevertheless, folks who actually do things like knock-about cars. No doubt about it.

    • Sure! greens and inner-city ‘caring’ ultracrepidarians had nothing to do with this. It’s all the fault of those scum farmers who want to burn stuff….or Morrison – take your pick. It’s easy!

      • Triggered! Its not even sport. They have consistently voted for parties that traditionally spent more on the RFS, National Parks, etc. While the farmers have consistently voted for the two parties that have slashed funding for the 2 areas most responsible for managing the land currently burning. Add some content bra.

  5. Another thing I’d add,
    Thailand has become so expensive,
    AUDTHB is 20
    Was 25 a few years back
    Prices have risen considerably food massage drinks
    The increases are frightening
    If AUD goes to 60, you’ll see THB drop to 18
    Thailand will start losing tourists
    Thailand is a big exporter now the THB exchange rate will start to have a very negative impact on their economy

    • When I was going there on business it was 40. Australia is just such a great economy! But no worries – we just need to print more.

    • Nah,

      Australia will just sign another Free Trade Agreement with Thailand so Thais can buy as many Australian assets as they possible can.

      Exporting capital to buy real Australian assets helps keep the exchange rate under control and selling off our capital assets and claims on our future income allows Australia to live a nice lifestyle while doing very little.

      It is not a sustainable strategy but who cares about that!

      The Japanese have been doing it for decades and even China is having a go.